Black eyes and hair wrenched out constituted an assault

Hertfordshire Mercury, 30th March 1918


At Ware Petty Sessions, John Hart, a labourer and discharged soldier of Priory Street, Ware, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Madeline Blakes on 18th March.

The complainant, who lives in Black Swan Yard, Priory Street, near to the defendant, said that a quarrel had occurred about the children.  The defendant struck her on the nose and also blacked her eyes, and his mother threw her into the road.  The defendant stated on oath that Mrs Blakes had abused his mother and, when he spoke to her about it, she had struck him in the face.  He only put up his arm in self-defence.  His mother and Mrs Blakes subsequently had a ‘good fight’ in the road.  The Clerk asked “Can you account for the black eyes that Mrs Blakes has?”, and the defendant replied “Yes sir, my mother gave them to her.”

The defendant’s mother also gave evidence and produced a handful of hair and some hairpins which she alleged Mrs Blakes had pulled out of her head.

The Chairman said that there was no doubt that there was provocation and that the defendant would only be fined 9s.

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